I will kill you!
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - February 15, 2019 - 12:00am

In his latest public appearance President Rodrigo Duterte once again uttered his favorite threat against drug lords and drug dealers: “I Will Kill You.” Unfortunately, the very people he counted on to help him do this legally, his beloved members of Congress led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo unceremoniously neutralized his action plan by dumping the proposal to revive the death penalty bill that the former Speaker of the House Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez had pushed for ratification during his stint as head of Congress.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been a staunch Catholic and pro-lifer and has previously fought the Death Penalty Law. Given Duterte’s dislike and disrespect for the Philippine Catholic Church and pro death penalty stance, one wonders if this difference of position and opinion will ultimately come to a showdown or change course once Arroyo retires from local or national politics after 2019. Either way the Arroyo Congress is proving to be a thorn for the Duterte Administration beginning with the ouster of Speaker Alvarez, the persecution and defamation of Budget Secretary Ben Diokno and now their withdrawal of support for the death penalty. I wonder if the President now feels that he had a more loyal and abiding ally in Bebot Alvarez than he now has in Arroyo?

Is the withdrawal of support for the revival of the death penalty a hit back at the Duterte administration for “robbing” or taking away their kitty fund called the Road Users Tax? Is the congressional withdrawal based purely on religious and personal beliefs branching out to a political decision, or is this possibly something influenced by narco-politicians in the Philippines? You might say that my last question is very alarming or controversial, but time and again politicians and the President himself has said that narcotics and politics have become bedfellows in the Philippines. Assuming that that is the case, there is as much reason to be concerned or to ask if narco politics has reached a level of influence where it can direct the outcome of laws, policies, funding and government’s capabilities to fight the drug war.

It would be careless or folly on our part to think that politicians, even members of Congress are immune to the infectious influence of drug money especially when it can bring in hundreds of millions of “easy money.” Assuming there is no direct contact or influence, it is not at all impossible that certain drug lords have organized teams of lawyers, lobbyists and are funding anti-death penalty groups who in turn influence legislators, even members of media. As they say there are many ways to skin a cat and I would not put it past drug lords to manipulate NGOs and Congress in order to fight the one real weapon that many countries in Asia have used to stop drug cartels: The Death Penalty!

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Just in case President Duterte reads this column, here’s a complaint all the way from Davao:

Dear Mr. Cito Beltran,

RE: Your column, “Sentenced for 2 to 25 years,” I would like to also bring to your attention the apparent intentional delay in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

On Feb. 17, 2005, the then Board of Liquidators (BOL) awarded the Lot No. 82, Pcs 3137 Lasang Plantation, Little Panay, Panabo, Davao to Jose Petronilo Dalisay. That was 14 years ago.

On June 2, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the BOL, the Office of the President (OP) and the Court of Appeals (CA) awarding the said lot to Dalisay. And so, on Oct. 4, 2011, Dalisay paid P280,002 to BOL as purchase price of the lot as required by BOL, so that title can be processed.

Since then, 11 years ago, Dalisay through me, his Attorney-in-Fact, made several follow-ups with the BOL to process the title to the lot in the name of Dalisay.

I wrote SAP Bong Go on Aug. 16, 2016 for assistance. The office of SAP Bong Go in turn referred the matter to DOF Sec. Sonny Dominguez. I salute and thank Sec. Sonny for his prompt action. He called me up and told me that he would reorganize the Privatization and Management Office (PMO), the office that took over the function of BOL, and that my concern will be immediately addressed. True enough, on Sept. 28, 2016, the new PMO Chief Privatization Officer Ma. Lourdes B. Recente wrote me a letter that informed me that on Sept. 29, 2015, the Privatization Council (PrC) had already approved the proposed disposition guidelines and was already endorsed to DOJ for legal opinion.

Since Sept 2016, I made several follow-ups with DOJ from the time of Sec. Aguirre and up to now under Sec. Guevarra but to no avail.  In fact, on May 8, 2018, I purposely flew to Manila from Davao to personally follow up with DOJ. I was barred to enter the DOJ building by the guards allegedly on orders by DOJ sec office, despite the fact that I showed another letter (dated March 7, 2018) from the office of Sec Bong Go. Luckily, because of my insistence to see any officer of DOJ or any staff of Sec Guevarra, a certain staff named Monet finally agreed to let me in. Thereafter, I again made several text messages and phone calls to DOJ to follow-up. I would be lucky if one out of six text messages or phone calls would be answered.

It is very sad to note that despite the lapse of several years (11 years) and several follow-ups, DOJ has not yet acted on the GUIDELINES submitted by PMO so that the latter can start processing the titles to thousands of applicants/ awardees like Dalisay.

Very truly yours,

Remigio C. Garcia

Attorney-in-Fact of Jose Petronilo Dalisay 

Awarded Lot No. 82, Pcs-3137

Area: 7.6796 Hectares located at Sitio Riles,

Brgy. Little Panay, Panabo City, Davao del Norte

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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